Towards the end of 2019 the West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership commissioned a review of its governance arrangements. This governance review was requested by the partnership to facilitate the development of new working arrangements intended to yield greater benefits for both partnership members and the migrant communities to which partners provide services given the changes in patterns of migration and government policy over recent years.
The review concluded that, despite its very limited resources and increasing pressures that arise from both the changes in patterns of migration and increasing migration numbers from some areas, the partnership has provided the only vehicle in the West Midlands that can bring together partners to develop migration management solutions. However, whilst the partnership has operated effectively as an information sharing network it has been less effective as body operating at a strategic level to support its members in managing migration across the region.
To address this, a small working group comprising representatives from local authorities, the West Midlands Children’s services, health, the Home Office and the voluntary sector has been created. The role of the working group will be to oversee a process leading to the formation of a new partnership board which will then go on to prepare the West Midlands Migration Strategy and oversee its implementation. It is envisaged that the new partnership board will be in place by the end of March 2020.
Nominations to the board are currently being sought from the following key areas:
- Metropolitan Local Authority Chief Officers
- Other Local Authority Chief Officers Upper Tier Authorities
- Adult and Children’s Services
- Local Government Association or Combined Authority (Political)
- Voluntary Sector
- Home Office Resettlement, Asylum Support and Integration Directorate
- Police/Community Safety
It is intended that the strategy that emerges through the work of the new board will continue to address priority issues linked to asylum, dispersal and UASC but will also seek to address a broader range of issues, including, for example, integration of migrants into community life, provision of access to health and education services, ensuring safety, reducing homelessness and progression into training and employment.
The process of preparing the strategy will involve extensive consultation with stakeholders so there will be lots of opportunities to get involved.
Partnership Board Nominations are required by the 5th of March 2020.